A famous migrant rights activist, detained at a Moscow airport and threatened with deportation to Uzbekistan, said she left Russia on a flight to Armenia.
In a brief interview before her flight departed on October 2 from Sheremetyevo airport, Valentina Chupik told RFE / RL that she was not sure about the legal details of her case, but unexpectedly received an Uzbek passport this morning and then took a PCR test for COVID so she could board a flight.
âAfter that I was given the option to turn the phone on for a bit. Then they put me on the plane,â she said.
âI’m on a plane. I have to turn off the phone, now we’re taking off,â she said.
It was not immediately clear whether Armenia was Chupik’s final destination, or whether she would continue to fly.
An Uzbek citizen and human rights activist, Chupik fled Uzbekistan in 2006 after the country’s authorities attempted to take control of her human rights organization.
She has lived in Moscow since then, leading a non-governmental organization called Sunrise of the World which provides legal advocacy and assistance to migrant workers in Central Asia.
On September 25, she was detained in Sheremetyevo after returning from Armenia to Russia.
According to her, agents of the Federal Security Service of Russia informed her that she had been deprived of her refugee status since September 17 and banned from entering Russia for 30 years.
The decision was made, officers told her, because she presented false information or documents to Russian authorities when she applied for refugee status in 2006.
Chupik, who called the claim “absolute nonsense,” said she could be jailed, tortured or even killed in detention if returned to Uzbekistan.
Earlier, one of Chupik’s collaborators told RFE / RL that they had lodged asylum applications with Ukrainian diplomats in Moscow and Kiev.
Chupik’s plight caught the attention of human rights activists in Russia, as well as the Committee for the Prevention of Torture, which called on the European Court of Human Rights to intervene on his behalf. .
With report from the Russian service of RFE / RL